A Rassmussen poll released today (Tuesday) shows voters would prefer a Republican candidate for congress … by a slim 1 point margin.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 40% would vote for their district’s Republican candidate while 39% would choose the Democrat.
The problem, of course, is that when it comes to the actual voting booth, it really doesn’t matter what respondents say in a generic ballot matchup. People tend to vote for an incumbent when one is available, and in an open seat, districts are drawn so safely that turnover is rare. 2008 was the exception that proved the rule, most likely. There seems to be a great deal of angst among the electorate about the recovery, and the various bailouts, that incumbency might not the safe haven it used to be … particularly in districts where the anti-Republican backlash in Republican-leaning districts was strongest. Voters that would normally vote Republican might be feeling some buyers remorse over their choice.
But Gallup reports that more people identify with the Democratic Part than the Republican Party. Gallup …
… find an average of 35% of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats and 28% as Republicans. The seven-point gap is similar to what Gallup has found since 2006, when the political tide turned in the Democrats’ favor.
That leave some 35% as independents. The coveted “swing voters” who can turn an election. Of course, the number of voters of a certain persuasion in a particular district can turn the tide in Congress.
Polling at this point in the cycle is something pollsters do to keep themselves employed. The snapshots are instructive, perhaps, to see what is the mood of the country at any given point in time, but as is evidenced by the two examples given above … it really makes a difference where you take the picture.
The poll that counts, the old saying goes, is on election day. I’m a fan of divided government. I haven’t always been that way, but when the Republican had control of all branches, it seems like not a lot of real progress was made. Given the very liberal leadership currently in the congress, I’m not sure an all-Dem team will do much better. Today’s snapshot seems to indicate that there may be signs of life among the Republican party. I hope, if that’s the case, that the electorate turns to a more moderate brand of Republican than we’ve seen in the recent past. Demagogues of both parties seem to be in the spotlight for the moment. Maybe it’s time to try more conservative Democrats, and more liberal Republicans, and see if something gets done.